What a luxury! We did not have to move at all. We stayed in Pirna. Well not all the time. Just for our hotel accommodation. 

Aktiv-Sport-Hotel-Pirna_2630_HDR by Array.

We are getting used to our new car “Matilda”. Parking is different now and some car parks we cannot use any more because of the hight. Everything is new…

Sunday we did a short trip. We have been in the region a couple of times but we never managed to use the historical lift in Bad Schandau. But this time we did it and went up to enjoy the view. Afterwards we walked along the river Elbe a bit on the promenade. Georgeous. In the evening we went again to the cinema and afterwards visited a famous restaurant in Pirna. If you need tipps. We now know quite a bit in Pirna…

We sent out the prizes for our voters for our photo of the year. Hopefully they all have arrived by now.

Again we did a documenation about culinary arts. This time we learned how to do “Eierschecke“. Afterwards we had to try it of course. It was really yummy but we were stuffed.

We also did a test for our workshop about content. We learned a lot and now can work on the concept.

We went a second time to dip candles. This time we made a HDR lantern. Absolutely fantastic! For the first try. Next time we have to use different paper and print the photo in a different size. But it looks stunning.

We also went back to Schmilka and learned about brewing beer. Very interesting. We could taste the different states. Some tasted good some not. It was amazing to see how many stages there of the beer while brewing until it tastes like beer.

We visited the national park centre and were surprised how much fun it is. From outside it looks not very inviting but inside you can do something everywhere. You can not only watch but touch things.

Finally we did some photos at the Toscana Therme. And we visited Dresden. We took the chance as we were so near to it.

And that was our time in Saxon Switzerland. Time flies.

We drove in bright sunshine to our next hotel in Pirna. One of the shortest travels during Waltzing.

The saved time we used to visit a ‘Carcassonne' fan meeting at the Festung Königstein. Quite interesting that people play for hours at the old castle. There was much going on.

Afterwards we had a walk through the snow. When the sun is finally shining…

Sonntagsspaziergang durch den Schnee bei Sonnenuntergang mit Blick auf den Lilienstein by Achim Meurer. Sonntagsspaziergang durch den Schnee bei Sonnenuntergang mit Blick auf den Lilienstein by Achim Meurer.

And then there has been a very special day within this week: We got our new waltzing vehicle. It was delivered on Tuesday and we sold our beloved “Touri” that accompanied us for 120.000 km and brought us to the most stunning places. Pah!!

So now we have a new on. Twitter folk suggested that we call the new car “Matilda” according to ‘Waltzing Matilda'. That is a very nice name. And as ‘matilda' carried the most precious belongings of the shearers in old times our Matilda will also carry our belongings. At the moment the car is quite empty. But that will change soon.

As my arms and shoulders don't get any better I visited again a therapist. Unfortunately none is located at the hotel. Otherwise there is so much activitiy but there is also a spa and some therapies offered like massages and shiatsu and much more.

Concerning the photos our week was – surprisingly – full of hotel photos. Restaurant, meeting room, fitness center, courses, spa, treatments and also photos of the staff members…

But we had also some time for regional culinary arts of Saxon Switzerland: The ‘Krautwickel‘ – a stuffed cabbage. We were allowed to watch a chef do them. We always enjoy doing so.

And all that with bright sunshine…

Saturday we joined the very first photowalk organized by the Tourism Board of Saxon Switzerland. Of course it was cloudy again that day. Grmmmmpf!! So we fought our way over icy steps and watched afterwards our photos in one of those cosy ‘Baude' and realized while having a drink together that there still are some very good results.

An exciting week again.

 

During our 90th week of waltzing we stayed at the Basteihotel. So we have been as near to the Bastei as possible. We were so excited thinking that we could go anytime to admire this stunning view…

if the weather would have been playing along. Like while our first visit all the nice and beautiful rocks were hiding behind grey clouds.

Only once there were some sunbeams visible at sunrise. So Achim quickly run to take some photos of it.

Sonnenaufgang über der Bastei Brücke im Winter by Array. Sonnenaufgang über der Bastei Brücke im Winter by Array.

But we have tried other activities than hiking. A discovery was dipping candles. That was a real delight.

We did some photos of the rooms and the restaurant in the hotel.

Hochzeitssuite Berhotel Bastei by Array. Berhotel Bastei Kaminzimmer by AchimMeurer.com .

And we did some research on what coold be interesting for a book addict at Saxon Switzerland.

I had to visit two doctors. The first was a dentist. And it was nothing serious. The pain came from the teethridge instead of a tooth. The second visit was not so nice. I thought I had a stain on one of my contact lenses. But the very friendly optician checked everything he could and sent me to an ophthalmologist. There they found out that the lens of my left eye started to get turbid. No good news…

Saturday we discovered Pirna. We strolled through the streets and alleys and had a closer look to the houses. In between we visited special cafés or restaurants. In the evening we went to the cinema and also for the first time into the “Gartenstrasse”. Very beautiful! The movie was also good. “Mein blind date mit dem Leben”. What a coincidence…

While we were changing hotels on Sunday the sun came out. How mean!!!

What can you do in Saxon Switzerland in the winter times? You would think there is not much to be wenn or to do. We have been there and have tried it out.

"Die 7 Brüder" - historische Fachwerkhäuse, sogenannte Umgebindehäuser, in Bad Schandau by Achim Meurer.

First of all you can do what you would do the rest of the year: Hiking. Most hiking paths are accessible. Also with snow. You should have good shoes, sticks and maybe spikes. But you can go hiking. With or without snow. And you can stopp at an Inn.

Fotos vom Photowalk Februar 2017 Sächsische Schweiz by Achim Meurer. Fotos vom Photowalk Februar 2017 Sächsische Schweiz by Achim Meurer.

Many ‘Baude' are open even in winter. Different opening hours are given at the beginning of a hiking trail so that there should be no surprises when arriving. The menu might be smaller, too, but you will get hot drinks to warm up or cold drinks if you are really thirsty. Tipp: Stay a little bit longer, even after the Baude has closed to enjoy the sunset!

Sonnenuntergang über der Sächsischen Schweiz, Ausblick von der Brandbaude by Array.

You can also do some sightseeing. This is also possible in winter. The ‘Bastei' looks great with a little bit of snow on it. Some paths might be closed. But it is worth a visit anyway. Hotel and panoramic restaurant are open so that you can have a break, warm up or get something to eat and to drink.

Sonnenaufgang über der Bastei Brücke im Winter by Array.

The lift in Bad Schandau is also a nice destination in winter. The lift has shorter operating hours but once you are on top you can have a walk or relax in the ‘Baude'.

Der Aufzug zum Aussichtsturm in Bad Schandau by Achim Meurer.

Festung Königstein is also open and always a nice spot.  Of course you can also just stroll around or discover the huge site with a guide.

Festung Königstein Sächsische Schweiz by AchimMeurer.com .

In winter there is a Carcassone fan meeting at the ‘Festung' where you can play the famous game in the old castle for hours.

Carcassonne Fan-Treffen, Spielenachmittag auf der Festung Königstein by AchimMeurer.com .

It is also fun to visit the old well. How long does it take until one liter of water arrives a the bottom of the pit? Or have a look at the sub cellar. How many alleys are and steps are there? It also won't get boring.

Das Brunnenhaus der Festung Königstein by Array.

In case you need a break there is an medieval tavern where there is a cosy fire burning and you get solid food.

Das Restaurant Musketier auf der Festung Königstein Sächsische Schweiz by AchimMeurer.com .

The winter village makes another nice destination. You can have a warm spiced wine at the fire place or take a bath in the hot tub. Additionally there is a extensive program with talks, movie evenings, eye training, yoga or live music. It's your choice.

Das Winterdorf Schmilka in der Sächsichen Schweiz by AchimMeurer.com .

How about a photowalk? You get outside, active, will see nice landscapes and can exchange with like-minded people. And you can indulge into your hobby of photography.

Fotos vom Photowalk Februar 2017 Sächsische Schweiz by Achim Meurer. Fotos vom Photowalk Februar 2017 Sächsische Schweiz by Achim Meurer.

Have you ever tried archery? That is also possible in winter. Yes, also in the snow. But if you don't want to get cold you can have a try in the hall. Concentrating on the aim is supposed to be relaxing and will keep your mind off the daily life.

Bogenschießen in Lohmen bei Pirna by AchimMeurer.com .

Or you have a walk through Pirna. Without people and tables and chairs or advertising signs the streets and alleys are even more beautiful. You can admire the wonderful old houses and the doors without being disturbed. So the town has a completely different view. And you might discover one or the other gem that you easily oversee in summer time and have a visit to a café or restaurant. There are some waiting to be discovered in winter times. With a cup of hot steaming chocolate or a specially roasted coffee with a handmade praline or a fresh made piece of cake. Like ‘Eierschecke‘. That's bearable, isn't it?

Wie macht man eine Eierschecke - Der typische Kuchen aus der Sächsischen Schweiz by AchimMeurer.com .

In case the weather is not so good and you don't want to go outside there are some activities nonetheless.

Have you made your own candles? How about a giving it a try? At the old barn it is cosy and warm and smells of warm wax. You can use the handmade candles as a gift or a nice souvenir.

Kerzenziehen in Pirna in der Kerzenfabrik Kerzenträume by AchimMeurer.com .

The National Parc Centre is open all winter and does not only inform about hiking trails but there is a lot more offered – not only for kids. At the exhibitions time flies because you can touch and try everything and you can even learn something.

Auf Entdeckungstour im Nationalparkzentrum in Bad Schandau by AchimMeurer.com .

Culinary arts is another subject in winter. Now the regional speciality of Saxon Switzerland tastes really good: Krautwickel. Many restaurants do have them on their menu and there are some variations like filled with fish or even vegan. It's a must!

Die regionale Spezialität der Sächsischen Schweiz: Krautwickel by AchimMeurer.com .

Now would also be the time to give yourself a treat and visit a sauna or take a nice hot bath or get a massage. There are a lot of different offers.

Massage in der Naturheilpraxis im Biohotel Helvetia in Schmilka by AchimMeurer.com .

If you like sports give the sports center at Pirna a try. There you can play tennis, squash, badminton, billiard, table tennis, table top football or try exercise machines or take part in one of the many offers courses like yoga, zumba or gymnastics.

Aktiv-Sport-Hotel-Pirna_1501 by AchimMeurer.com .

In case you search quietness you could read a book. We found nice places to find books and also places where you can read a book. It is much more exiting if the author comes from Saxony or the book's story plays around here.

Lesen und Entspannen im Kaffeehaus in Pirna by AchimMeurer.com .

Still not enough? Well nearly every weekend there is a mariner carnival here. With a parade and selfmade floats and all the important figures.

Schifferfastnacht-Postelwitz-Bad-Schandau-Saechsische-Schweiz-Sachsen_0009 by AchimMeurer.com .

Saxon Switzerland in winter? Let's go!!

 

 

You think an activity holiday is a great idea? And you are looking for an activity hotel? There are so many. But how many of them have a sports center included?

Aktiv-Sport-Hotel-Pirna_2596_HDR by Array.

The Aktivhotel Pirna is one of them. Or the only one?

From outside the hotel does not look big at all. But once you are inside you will notice, how long the building actually ist and how much is offered there…

Details im Aktiv Hotel in Pirna by Achim Meurer.

First of all there is a tennis hall with five places. But there are also courts outside. Then there are volley ball fields, basketball and a huge fitness center with all kind of machines. Don't forget about squash and badminton. Oh yes! And there is table tennis also. Not enough? How about billiards? Or tabletop football? Ninepins?

Aktiv-Sport-Hotel-Pirna_1107 by AchimMeurer.com                     .

Here you get much more than the usual hiking path behind the house and yoga in the morning. Here you get a full recreation and sports centre. In case that you need more you might like the municipal swimming pool right next door.

Aktiv-Sport-Hotel-Pirna_1498 by AchimMeurer.com                     .

Aktiv-Sport-Hotel-Pirna_1473 by AchimMeurer.com                     .

Everybody can find something here for a really active holiday. At the first floor there is a huge fitness centre with a lot of different exercise machines. There is even a small room for those who like really big muscles and need heavy weights. But there is also something for your well being afterwards. Attached there is a spa with saunas and a terrace.

Aktiv-Sport-Hotel-Pirna_1145 by AchimMeurer.com                     .

Above the fitness centre you can find the treatment area. Here you can get a message after the training to untighten your muscles or even treat a minor injury with Shiatsu or other treatments. The skilled staff will find the right program for you. Or you just relax in a hot tub.

It will never get boring. There are two rooms where different courses are offered. At least one a day. There is back exercises, tums bums and thighs, karate or zumba for the elderly without jumps and difficult movements. Everybody will find something adequate.

Aktiv-Sport-Hotel-Pirna_1230 by AchimMeurer.com                     .

Expert staff is everywhere around to help you with tipps. You can also book personal coaches and trainers to get an idividual plan and advice.

After the sport you can replace the burned calories in the hotel own restaurant or you meet after a match with your sports partner at the bar for a cold drink.

Aktiv-Sport-Hotel-Pirna_1830_HDR by Array.

In the evening you sink down into your bed in one of the nice rooms at the Aktivhotel.

So how about some activity holiday?

 

As a self-confessed bookworm for me it is always important to be informed about books in a region. So I had a look how a bookworm would get its food in Saxon Switzerland.

Lesen und Entspannen im Kaffeehaus in Pirna by AchimMeurer.com .

There are several possibilities of course:

Hotels/Accomodations

In many hotels or appartments your can find an assortment of books, that you can read during your stay. Some have more some have less books. In some hotel rooms you will find a test sample and you can buy the book afterwards at the reception. Some suites are also equipped with a handful of books. In other hotels you will see a book shelf at the lobby or they have a library also equipped with nice and cosy armchair so that you can just stay there and get lost in a book. Some times you can order a snack or you will get served coffee and cake.

Schmilka-Bibliothek-Buch-Lesen_2950 by AchimMeurer.com                     . Schmilka-Bibliothek-Buch-Lesen_2960 by AchimMeurer.com                     .

Library

In case you need more choice try the municipal library in Pirna. It is not only in a wonderful old building with old frescos but also spreads about three several levels and offers views into the past on a few occasions. There are old paintings, antique doors and locks. Everybody will find something here. There are many small rooms and you can get everything from A – Z and even movies and audio files. If you like you can start reading right away because there are cosy corners everywhere with chairs where one can put the head into a book. For tourists there is a day ticket. With that you can not only stroll through the library but you can also borrow books so that you can read during your holiday stay. You should only remember to give them back before leaving. At the lobby you can buy rejected books for the smybolic price of 1 Euro.

Bookshop

Of course there are bookshops in Pirna and surrounding so that you can also buy books.

Schmilka-Bibliothek-Buch-Lesen_2955 by AchimMeurer.com                     .

Bookcase

In Bad Schandau Krippen there is an open bookcase in an old phone booth. The principal of open bookcases is always the same. You can take books or leave some books yourself. Some books are registered with book exchange platforms so you can see where the books are traveling. Other books are just passed on and on. This is a nice thing when traveling. You can take a book and leave it in another open bookcase in a different location. A list with public bookcases you can find here.

Öffentlicher Bücherschrank in einer alten Telefonzelle by AchimMeurer.com                     . Öffentlicher Bücherschrank in einer alten Telefonzelle by AchimMeurer.com                     .

Authors

How about books that have been written by local authors? At the library in Pirna they are marked with a special sign. Saxon authors can also be experienced at readings from the „Literaturforum Bibliothek“:

http://www.saechsischer-literaturrat.de/literaturforum-bibliothek.html

Lesen in der Stadtbibliothek in Pirna by AchimMeurer.com .

Location

And then there are of course those books that play in Saxon Switzerland. It is always fascinating to see the locations where a story takes place right away and feel the action and emotions. Here we have some examples (German):

Jahnslieb – Legende der Sächsisch-Böhmischen Schweiz von Swetlana Neumann

Felssturz von Stefan Jahnke

Birkfalken von Stefan Jahnke

Unterdrückt von Stefan Jahnke

Wie das Leben so spielt von Johanna Ancke

Does anybody know about tranlations of these books?

Reading places

So when you have enough to read – does not matter whether you bought the book or borrowed it, whether from a Saxon author or somebody else – the question is: where to read? Again we had a look around and found some nice places to bury oneself in a book.

At the winter garden from the winter village in Schmilka

Here you can sit all day. In the morning you can have breakfast until noon. After that you can have a snack and in the afternoon you will be served coffee and fresh baked cake. In-between you can change to the sauna and read on there.

Das Winterdorf Schmilka in der Sächsichen Schweiz by AchimMeurer.com .

Café Central

At the café central you can either sit in the shopping window and have a look outside once in a while or you huddle next to the tile stove. You can get fine hot drinks and tortes or handmade pralines and chocolate.

Lesen und Entspannen im Kaffeehaus in Pirna by AchimMeurer.com .

The Eleven Kaffeebar

Here there is a cosy lounge at the back of the café with much space for reading. You will be served nice teas or coffee specialities and the owner baked gorgeous cakes as she is a trained baker. There you can spend quite some time.

Lesen und Entspannen im Kaffeehaus in Pirna by AchimMeurer.com . Lesen und Entspannen im Kaffeehaus in Pirna by AchimMeurer.com . Lesen und Entspannen im Kaffeehaus in Pirna by AchimMeurer.com .

Café and Winehouse Schmolle

Schmolle is a coffee roaster and a wine house and the shop is a master plan. You can sit by the fire side and read or order the fine dishes or nice tortes. Furthermore there are very nice decorations and wines that you can purchase. Also here you can spent some time.

Lesen und Entspannen im Cafe Schmole in Pirna by Achim Meurer.

In a ‘Baude'

Many of these ‘Baude' invite you to stay. Why not reading a book and once in a while lift your head and enjoy the nice view? Some of the huts have a fireplace or a tile stove with a fire burning. And some do have a book shelf.

Ausflugslokal Brandbaude mit Panoramaausblick by AchimMeurer.com                     .

What is your favourite place and book?

All photos © Waltzing Meurers